Disclaimer: I received the Hyla CE-5 directly from Hyla Audio. This special IEM is a limited product, as Hyla claims; only 200 units are available worldwide. The price at the moment is 915$. I want to say thank you to our Japanese friends for sending out the CE-5.
This review includes many comparisons with the Oriolus MK2 in terms of sound reproduction.
If HYLA sounds like a very new name to you, I can mention “Oriolus” and that might ring a bell. To explain; Oriolus operates under the brand Cyras Co. in Japan, but the products are usually limited to domestic regions (Japan for the most part). We reviewed Oriolus 3 times before and you can see the reviews HERE.
Now, Cyras Co. established a new co-brand under their supervision; Hyla Audio. The actual announcement was in November 2017, and now the audiophile community started to have some knowledge about them. Since we’ve worked with Oriolus before, it was almost mandatory for us to review a product under this fresh brand. Hyla operates in Tokyo, and our impression is that they want to have more marketing & awareness in the western parts of the audiophile world. That appears to be the reason behind the decision of creating the Hyla brand, or at least we hope so.
Make gorgeous sound a reality is HYLA’s only mission.
From the looks of it, Hyla wants to be more courageous, bold or adventurous so to speak. They want to improve the technologies of Oriolus, and benefit from the experience they have. The Hyla CE-5 is an R&D type of product, a different concept, and it certainly is impressive with a more energetic and engaging type of tuning than the Oriolus MK2, but more on that later.
There’s also the Nerva-X as their second and flagship IEM, with a whopping price of 2.730$, utilizing 10 Balanced Armature drivers in a full silver housing, literally. We will try to get one sample of that as well.
As I remarked, the Hyla CE-5 was released with only 200 units available. If you want to purchase one, you can go to the page from HERE. It still appears to be in stock, for now of course. Hurry up!
The Hyla CE-5 presents itself to you in a very premium looking box, which I found akin to the box of the Sony Z1R headphone. The inside is covered with shiny black cloth and the IEMs are sitting above it. The carrying case is below in a cardboard, which has the Hyla brand logo on top. You get both silicone and foam tips inside the carrying case, together with a cleaning tool of course.
The cable provided is a stock one, unlike the Oriolus offerings we saw. But the cable is a very high quality 4-braid one with great flexibility & durability. So one can clearly say that this is a very good “stock” cable, definitely better than standard ones we see with other IEMs.
The case is actually a small bag which is very useful and easier to carry than most, and it comes with a strap with a hook to attach it to your belt or backpack, whatever you might choose. The bag is a Japanese made bag from the brand “Van Nuys”, which I suppose is a popular brand in Japan. Hyla collaborated with them for the carrying side of things, and the flagship Nerva-X also has one, which is little more premium than this as far as I can tell from the photos. Anyway, I find this original bag to be very useful and easy to work with.
DESIGN & BUILD
The design of the both Hyla IEMs resemble their Oriolus counterparts. However the CE-5 looks very authentic with its shape, and the pronounced purple color makes it very attractive. The shell is made from Germany imported resin, and the structural design is made using a 3D process, which normally is used in the field of jewellery.
The result is a very ergonomic, lightweight and eye catching body. There’s nothing on the face plates or on the shells except the serial numbers, but I like this clean and outlandish look. The overall feel of the shells is very smooth and seamless. Also, you can see the inside of the earphones with a certain amount of light, since they’re semi-transparent.
Build quality is very good. Normally you would expect it to be a little fragile, since it looks like something you usually should take care of, and because it feels very very light in the hand. But I find them quite robust and the recessed 2-pin sockets that I liked on the Oriolus MK2 are also present here. Of course this IEM is not something to throw around when you’re outside, listening to your favorite tunes, nor is it a running companion of any kind. But from an audiophile perspective, it gives me no worries in terms of structural quality.
Fit is an obvious problem I faced with the Oriolus MK2, because of the fat shells and short nozzles, it to me is not the best combination. I have no complaints this time with the CE-5 however. The nozzles are shaped to be very ergonomic and they’re much longer. So what you’ve got here is a much deeper fit overall with correct tips for your ear. I used small silicone tips to achieve the deep fit with good seal. I must say they sit very flush in my ears and the comfort is really good.
Isolation is of course not like CIEMs with BA drivers inside. There’s a small vent outside just like the MK2, and you probably know it’s because of the dynamic driver. Still, because of the better and deeper fit I mentioned above, the isolation is satisfying despite the air vent. In fact, it provided me a better isolation than some of the IEMs in my possession that use BA drivers only.
Let’s go on with the sound. Click HERE for page 2.